Winning start to the Blades Pre-Season
In their opening fixture of the 2023/2024 pre-season, Sheffield United made the short trip to Chesterfield to take on the National League side.
4495 Blades supporters were officially in attendance in a total crowd of 9476 who braved a complete mixture of weathers, Kick Off being delayed slightly due to the queues to enter the stadium.
Paul Heckingbottom elected to play a different XI per half in order to get some minutes into the players who arrived back at Shirecliffe last week.
The first half XI consisted of: Foderingham, Seriki, Basham, Egan (c), Trialist (C Francis), Lowe, Norwood, Fleck, Brooks, Marsh, Osula with Dewhurst, Sachdev, Freckleton, Buyabu and Neal on the bench.
The hosts got the game under way and were the first on the front foot, with a couple of early corners. It was United who were to have the better chances of a goalless first half however, with Osula perhaps feeling tonight that he could have been walking away with at least a brace. His pace getting him into some good positions beyond a decent Chesterfield backline, the striker had multiple opportunities either saved or narrowly missing the target.
The best move of the half saw John Fleck play down the line to find the run of Max Lowe, who put in a peach of a cross to find Osula towards the far side of the box, the striker hit it first time, but it was saved by the legs of the keeper.
Coinciding with the referees half time whistle was the emergence of the second half eleven and a certain Iliman Ndiaye who received a warm ovation and a song in his direction as he began to warm up.
Davies, Sachdev, Ahmedhodžić, Freckleton, Robinson, Buyabu, Berge, Neal, Osborn, Ndiaye and McBurnie (c) made up the second half XI, with Dewhurst, Seriki, Trialist (C Francis), Brooks and Osula on the bench.
It didn’t take long for the second XI to put the Blades in front, Berge played a ball down the middle which McBurnie dummied, allowing the ball to meet the run in behind of Ndiaye. The much talked about Ndiaye cooly rounded the keeper before rolling the ball into the goal.
McBurnie was busy and was involved in a lot of the better Blades forward moves.
United doubled their lead on 59 minutes when after getting through on goal and bearing down on the keeper, McBurnie selflessly squared to Ben Osborn who finished into the empty net.
McBurnie could’ve had one himself, but for a couple of saves by Tyrer, first from a low shot diving to his left and then from a goalward McBurnie header.
Despite a couple of late attempts to get in the Blades box, the hosts couldn’t get themselves on the scoresheet and the Blades opened their pre-season with a win.
Focus now turns to the warm weather training and fixture in Portugal, where at least one more signing should be joining Heckingbottom’s men.
First Half XI: Foderingham, Seriki, Basham, Egan (c), Trialist (C Francis), Lowe, Norwood, Fleck, Brooks, Marsh, Osula
Subs: Dewhurst, Sachdev, Freckleton, Buyabu, Neal
Second Half XI: Davies, Sachdev, Ahmedhodžić, Freckleton, Robinson, Buyabu, Berge, Neal, Osborn, Ndiaye and McBurnie (c)
Subs: Dewhurst, Seriki, Trialist (C Francis), Brooks, Osula
Attendance: 9,476 (including 4,495 Blades).